Editor's Corner, 0121 ALBJ, Vol. 82 No. 1 Pg. 12 (January, 2021)

PositionVol. 82 1 Pg. 12


Vol. 82 No. 1 Pg. 12

Alabama Bar Lawyer

January, 2021

W. Gregory Ward wgward@mindspring.com

Welcome to the evidence issue.

Every issue has a story behind it-some issues have stories you just wouldn't believe-so let me tell you the story about this one. Scott Donaldson decided that sitting as a circuit judge in Tuscaloosa for a decade was not punishment enough, so he found himself on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals where he has sat since 2013. He called me one day with an article idea. His pitch was that he's witnessed a decline in the skill level that lawyers demonstrate on evidentiary issues. He also mentioned that one of Alabama's law schools no longer requires a course in evidence. I was appalled; he had my ear.

As we chewed over the topic and as ideas began to flow, we decided that what we'd stumbled into was not an article idea, but an idea for an entire issue. I assigned it to him, and he went immediately to work. I think you will be pleased with what he came up with.

We begin with Judge Donaldson's thoughtful piece about the decline in trial skills. He points out what he's seen, and he ends with a discussion about whether we trial lawyers should have our own certifications and heightened MCLE requirements. he is a terrific writer, and if you take a minute and read his article i suspect that your interest in the topic will be piqued (page 18).

Terry McCarthy and Allison Bendall give us a quick and informative history of the Alabama rules of evidence. i learned a lot from these two, and they ought to know something about the topic. Terry is one of the coauthors of the newly-published seventh edition of McElroy’s Alabama Evidence (page 23).

Judge Donaldson told us that about half of Alabama's lawyers practice either family law or criminal law, so we begin our substantive articles with family law. Ashleigh Dunham and Sandi Gregory are experienced family law practitioners, and they suggest some practical pointers that every family law practitioner should think about, including self-authenticating documents and the emerging field of things that come from social media, including text messages. Who doesn’t need to know more about that? (page 26)

Judge Elisabeth French is the presiding judge of the 10th judicial circuit, and she joined forces with Julie Cochran and label la McCallum to cover the civil side of things. They provide us with a quick overview of...

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